How many ways can North Carolina find to win? After an opening round NCAA Tournament blowout win over Marquette, then losing a big lead and beating Baylor in overtime, UNC outlasted UCLA in a back-and-forth contest that saw Caleb Love take over the game and score 27 in the second half.
Brady Manek hit key shots in the first half to help keep the Tar Heels close. In the second half, the Bruins got hit with a lot of Love as he finished with 30 points. Love and Manek had some help with RJ Davis and Armando Bacot also finishing in double figures.
When asked about Love’s play in a post-game interview on CBS, UNC coach Hubert Davis said, “At the end of the day, you just need guys to step up and Caleb Love was absolutely fantastic.”
Bruins fade late
UCLA led early then exchanged the lead with UNC before taking control of the game and leading 31-28 at the half. UCLA continued to lead most of the second half, but the Tar Heel defense took its toll while Love was getting hot. The Bruins had four players in double figures, but dependable scorer Jaime Jaquez was held to just 1-11 in the in the second half, while the team shot 15-35.
What UNC did to win
- Second half of second half defense was tight.
- Committed just 9 fouls.
- Only committed 8 turnovers.
- No panic when pressured inbounding the ball.
- Led 19-6 on second chance points.
- Made 10 three-point baskets while holding UCLA to 5.
- Out rebounded UCLA 43-34.
- Grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.
Saint Peter’s continued to pull off upsets as they held off #3 Purdue 67-64 and will face UNC on Sunday. This is the first time that a 15-seed has made it to the Elite 8 and will be the first time that an 8-seed and 15-seed have met in the tournament.